Maurice Obstfeld is new chief economist of the IMF

Obstfeld is the former chair of the department of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Like Blanchard, Obstfeld’s background is largely as an academic economist.

He is the co-author of two textbooks on international economics—Foundations of International Macroeconomics with former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff, and International Economics with Paul Krugman and Marc Melitz.

Here is the FT coverage, here is the IMF announcement, and here is Obstfeld’s home page.  He wrote this on the eurozone.  Overall I would say this reflects the continuing preeminence of MIT-style macroeconomics in the current policy community, his MIT Ph.d. is from 1979 and his work has been very much in that vein.


Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff is a grandmaster of chess. On occasion he counsels chess masters who wish to give up the royal game (no money in it unless you're in the top 50). I wonder if he tells them to become economists? There's money in that, but I wonder whether the social utility in being an economist is less than that of being a chess professional.

I used Krugman, Obstfeld and Melitz "Internacional Economics" book, it was very useful.

So remind me again about the accomplishments of the IMF.

Wrecking every economy they get involved with?

Ah yes, the tooting of one's own horn.

Is the theoretical outlook of an economist basically formed in graduate school never to change, or does their outlook come before grad school and they choose graduate schools accordingly?

What does the chief economist at the IMF actually do during the course of a normal day?

Aame as the rest of us, put on a pants one leg at a time. Mostly they act as authority figures, the staff is doing most of the actual work.

There is a great stagnation of elites.

Can someone please explain the term "MIT-style macroeconomics", perhaps by some reference.

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